By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 37)
Taped April 20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Petersen Events Center
Aired April 22, 2022 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks checked in. We went right to the ring for the first match without introductions.
1. Adam Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii in an Owen Hart tournament qualifier. Cole tried to shoulder-block Ishii, but Ishii eventually took Cole down and Cole rolled to the outside. Back inside the ring, Cole stomped on Ishii and went for the “Adam Cole Bay Bay,” but Ishii came back and interrupted that with a chop. Cole rolled to the outside and Ishii followed him. Ishii chopped Cole on the outside until Ishii went for one and hit the post instead.
Cole threw Ishii into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Cole worked a chin-lock. Cole hit a neck-breaker. Ishii tried to come back with some strikes to the mid-section, but Cole came back with a chop of his own. Ishii fired up and hit Cole with a forearm that dropped Cole to the mat. Ishii landed a powerslam. Ishii hit a backdrop suplex for a two-count. Ishii lifted Cole, but Cole worked his way out and Cole lifted Ishii for a neck-breaker. We then got a PIP [c].
Back from the break, Ishii landed a super-plex from the the second rope. Cole went for the Boom, but Ishii moved and hit a sliding lariat for a two-count. After a few exchanges, Cole suplexed Ishii onto his knee for a good near-fall. Cole went for the Panama Sunrise, but Ishii moved and the two traded strikes until both wrestlers were on the mat. Ishii hit a headbutt, but Ishii took control. Jay White then ran out and took out Rocky Romero. Cole landed a low blow and the Boom for the win.
Adam Cole defeated Tomohiro Ishii via pinfall in 11:15.
After the match, we went to an “earlier today” video where Chris Jericho and his boys were kicked out of the building. Jericho said he believes in Garcia, and Garcia will kick Eddie Kingston’s ass because Kingston is a piece of trash. We then went to commercial.
McGuire’s Musings: I can’t say I’m a fan of the flukey finish, but I will say that this was a very good match. I will confess that unlike MJF, I’m a fan of the New Japan style, and this match reiterated that Adam Cole can work pretty much any style he needs to work to make a match be a good match. Ishii got a lot of shine here, which I’m a fan of, but it would have been fun to see him make a run in this tournament. It would have been even more fun to see him take a Panama Sunrise, but I digress. All told, I’m awfully intrigued when it comes to an Adam Cole/Jay White alliance. As for the backstage stuff … Jericho is just so funny. I’ll leave it at that.
Back from break, Hook was being interviewed, but Danhousen interrupted him and said Danhousen has his attention.
2. Lance Archer vs. Serpentico. Shawn Spears joined the commentary team for the match. Archer hit a release suplex that was nuts. Archer landed the Black Out for the win.
Lance Archer defeated Serpentico via pinfall in 31 seconds.
After the match, Archer kept hitting choke slams. Jake Roberts laughed as all this happened. We then got a video profiling the relationship between Tony Nese and Mark Sterling. Daniel Garcia then made his entrance.
3. Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia with everyone banned from ringside. The two brawled to begin the match and Kingston hit a running boot before Garcia rolled to the outside. Kingston hit a series of chops. Kingston ran Garcia into the steps. Back in the ring, Garcia took control by stretching Kingston and landing a kick.
Kingston came back with a chop, but Garcia hit a shoulder to the mid-section to take control. Garcia hit a series of forearms, and then eventually bit Kingston’s head. Kingston came back by biting Garcia’s head. Kingston slapped Garcia’s leg, but Garcia came back with a strike and the two rolled outside. Garcia ran Kingston into the ring post and we got our second PIP [c].
Back from the break, the two were trading chops. Garcia hit a series of uppercuts, but Kingston went for an Exploder, but Garcia elbowed his way out and went back to stretching Kingston. Garcia landed a German Suplex for a good two-count. Garcia ran a mud-hole in Kingston in a corner, but then Garcia ran into a boot. Kingston went to the second rope and hit a knee to the back of Garcia’s neck.
Before long, Garcia sank in a Boston Crab. Garcia then sank in a Sharpshooter. Kingston made it to the ropes for a break. Back on their feet, Kingston hit a vicious slap and then landed an enziguri before hitting an Exploder for a two-count. Kingston hit a back-drop and the spinning back-fist for the win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Daniel Garcia via pinfall in 12:26.
After the match, Kingston had a microphone and took off his belt. Kingston looked at the camera said he’s saving a whipping for Garcia’s boss, Chris Jericho. We then cut backstage to an interview with Swerve and Keith Lee. Lee said he he wants to annihilate all of Team Taz. Swerve chimed in and said they are going to have to pay back their precious loss in blood. The camera cut back to the commentary team and said they are the broke-ass Keenan and Kel. We went to commercial.
Mcguire’s Musings: I actually expected more from Kingston vs. Garcia. And I guess I’m wrong, but I kind of expected it to be no DQ, no count-out, etc. If you watch NJPW Strong, you have seen Kingston act like it’s a blood feud between he and Garcia, but this match was very tame. And Kingston got the clean win. I suppose that means we’re working back toward a rematch between Kingston and Jericho (and that’s OK, by the way), but I was expecting something more. Also, can we please stop making Daniel Garcia lose? Maybe? Please?
Back from break, Tony Schiavone was interviewing Britt Baker, Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter. Storm said she’d see Hayter in the first round and walked away. Excalibur then ran down the card for Wednesday’s Dynamite. We then went to the Mark Henry segment. Henry said after tonight, she could be 30-0. Henry asked Jade if Marina deserves Jade’s consideration. Mark Sterling said Cargill is the hardest working professional wrestler on earth. Sterling said balloons will rain from the ceiling. Shafir said problems don’t care about balloons. Henry said it’s time for the main event.
4. Jade Cargill vs. Marina Shafir for the TBS Title. Both women got full entrances. The match began with Shafir going for Cargill and Cargill moving, but Shafir hit some kicks. Cargill landed a fall-away slam to the crowd’s delight. Cargill clotheslined Shafir over the top to the outside. Cargill’ girls worked over Shafir on the outside while the ref was distracted.
Back in the ring, Cargill hit some stomps on Shafir. Cargill landed a back elbow and a back suplex for a two-count. Cargill worked a ground-and-pound and posed over Shafir. Shafir came back with a series of kicks and Shafir worked a front chancery. Cargill countered with a suplex that earned her a two-count. Excalibur threw to the final PIP of the night [c].
Back from break, Shafir hit a kick and worked a leg-lock. Shafir sank in a knee-bar. Cargill made it to the ropes for a break. Shafir ran Cargill’s knee into the ring post and confronted Sterling. Shafir took Sterling down. Cargill hit a big boot onto Shafir on the outside. Cargill tried to choke-slam Shafir through a table, but the table didn’t break and it looked awfully bad.
Cargill rolled Shafir into the ring and posed with her Baddies. Back in the ring, Cargill posed, but Shafir caught her with an ankle-lock. Cargill tried to work her way out of it, but Shafir fired up. Still Cargill hit Shafir with a bunch of boots to get out of it. Cargill then landed Jaded for the win.
Jade Cargill defeated Marina Shafir via pinfall in 11:38 to retain the TBS Title.
McGuire’s Musings: Hoooooooooooo boy, I hope Shafir is OK after that table spot toward the end. Jade put her down very much not in the middle of the table and Shafir hit hard. That said, I don’t care how much TV time or hope or plans that were made for Shafir in NXT, but this is the most high-profile thing Shafir has done in pro wrestling and she more than held up her end. This was a perfect challenger for Cargill to get to 30-0, and I have so much hope for whatever is next for Shafir in AEW. This was very good, all-around and without question main event worthy. This was the most Cargill has been challenged in for as long as I can remember and I loved it. Very good stuff here.
In all, this was a middle-of-the-road episode of Rampage. In case you missed it, Lance Archer had a squash that meant little to nothing and then the two interview segments that were hyped both lasted less than 30 seconds and didn’t really move much forward. Still, I can’t hate on it. That opening match felt like it belonged on New Japan Strong and the main event elevated both women in a time and in a company where women both need and deserve to be elevated. Also, Eddie Kingston is a bad-ass. I’ll have more to say in my audio review, which may not come until Saturday morning.